In a Strange Land - Andrzej Cirocki - ebook

In a Strange Land ebook

Andrzej Cirocki

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Opis

In a Strange Land is a collection of four original short stories which provide teachers with motivating and engaging classroom material at the CEFR B2 to C1 level. This gripping young adult fiction encourages readers to use their imagination and interact with the texts. The stories are supported by creative tasks in which students can integrate all their language skills, use computer technology, practise learning strategies and exercise autonomy.

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Originality is the essence of true scholarship.

Creativity is the soul of the true scholar.

Nnamdi Azikiwe

Contents

Acknowledgements

To the Teacher

To the Learner

THE BLUE DRAGON

Outline of activities

Story

Activities:

1 Pre-reading: Talking about emotions

2 Visualising and predicting: Focusing on the title and the opening

3 Empathising: Understanding the language of feelings

4 Creative writing: Inventing a fictional character

5 Extension and experimentation: Making videos

THROUGH WALLS

Outline of activities

Story

Activities:

1 Pre-reading: Talking about meaning, effect and context

2 Engaging with the text: Analysing and discussing specific aspects

3 Exploring the story: Making connections

4 Extension and experimentation: Sequencing events and developing the story

DON’T GO IN

Outline of activities

Story

Activities:

1 Pre-reading: Discussing first impressions

2 Expressing emotions: Understanding and using similes

3 Thinking beyond the text: Interpreting dreams

4 Improvisation: Reporting problems on the phone

5 Experimentation: Making a television programme and writing a letter

6 Extension: Designing a movie poster

MERLIN

Outline of activities

Story

Activities:

1 Pre-reading: Predicting the story line

2 Listening and writing: Forming and describing first impressions

3 Expressing feelings and opinions: Posting comments on a blog

4 Improvisation: Acting out a court-room drama

5 Creative writing: Producing a haiku

6 Extension: Discussing opinions found on an internet forum

Acknowledgements

We wish to sincerely thank Susan M. Dean, Hannah C. Floyd, Lynn A. Fraser and Tracey Seagrove for writing these stories for us and allowing us to include them in this collection. Special thanks go to Alison Bruce, Royal Literary Fund Fellow from Anglia Ruskin University, who helped us to select the stories for this volume. Next, we would like to extend our thanks and gratitude to Paul Bloomfield, Michael Butler, Lorraine Noble and Mary Whiteside, who kindly agreed to read the stories for the accompanying audio material, and to Will Smythe for preparing the recording.

 

 

The accompanying audio recordings are available as two audio CDs or as individual MP3 downloads. For more information, please see the publisher’s website at www.linguabooks.com.

To the Teacher

IN A STRANGE LAND is a collection of four stories written with the aim of providing you with motivating and engaging material to use in the classroom at the CEFR B2 and C1 levels. The stories require the reader to represent the imaginative world while they interact with the texts. Encouraging the reader to become an active participant in the story not only offers fertile ground for critical thinking, but also helps the student to develop scope for mental reflection on the texts they read, as well as on how the plot relates to their personal life.

These original stories invite the student to read naturally in a relaxed and enjoyable manner. For this reason, it is not our intention to encourage you to exploit these stories in the conventional form of intensive reading we find in many modern course books. Since the stories have been written to be enjoyed, they are supported with attractive activities in which the student can integrate all language skills, use computer technology, practise learning strategies and exercise autonomy. In other words, the student is involved in experiential learning through which they are stimulated to relate the inner world of their own selves to the outer world of external reality.

In order to arrive at a compromise between a truly natural reading experience and what the language teacher and learner often expect from texts, we would suggest two ways of using this material: reading for pleasure and an integrated skills approach to reading.

The reading for pleasure approach is based on Pennac’s Rights of the Reader. We offer the following two alternatives to the learner: to read the story and enjoy it, both in and out of the classroom, or to read the story while listening to a recording of it (audio-reading).

The integrated skills approach combines both receptive and productive skills in activities based on specific aspects of the stories in this volume. The learner is involved in a series of creative activities which encourage meaningful use of the target language. The skills practised and the types of activities vary from story to story. By the time the learner gets to the final activity in each story, they will have practised the language related to its content, including relevant vocabulary. Occasionally, the skills practice is supported by vocabulary exploitation exercises to help the language learner to interact with the text.

It is our intention to promote a creative and original approach to reading. We believe that the input required to stimulate effective language acquisition and learning should engage the whole person. For this reason, the stories and activities in this volume aim to boost learner-intrinsic motivation, affective arousal and self-investment. Additionally, this material instantly attracts the learner’s curiosity, interest and attention, all of which are necessary for successful language development. Another distinctive feature of this volume is that reading encourages the language learner to use the target language in a new and productive manner.

The activities are ready to use, yet you are welcome to adapt them to meet your students’ needs and interests. It is essential for teachers to exercise their creativity, to recognise the need for contextual relevance and to address the learning styles of both individuals and members of a reading community. This differentiated approach maximises the potential of each language learner to extend their learning. Matching classroom work to the diverse abilities of the learners requires teachers to abandon the security of the structured lesson and reinvent themselves by adapting their instructional strategies to unfamiliar situations, giving students a voice in the classroom and incorporating their students’ creativity into the teaching/learning process. The deliberate absence of an answer key likewise serves to remove restrictions, promote creativity and thereby enhance enjoyment for both student and teacher.

To the Learner

IN A STRANGE LAND consists of four stories written to engage you in pleasure reading – a real-life experience where you enjoy stories written for you as a reader, rather than as a foreign or second language learner. For this reason, you should not regard this collection as just another book for classroom use.

We believe that you will find these stories attractive and engaging as they contain characters and situations that are familiar to us from our daily lives. As a result, you will be able to not only make personal connections between the texts you read and your own life experiences, but also connect the stories to other texts you may have read before. Likewise, you will have an opportunity to empathise with the characters and experience similar or completely new life situations.

The suggested activities are intended to be a motivational tool and provide excellent support for your learning. They promote co-operation, creativity and meaningful communication in the target language. Additionally, they will help you to practise English by discussing individual parts of the texts and predicting the course of events. The text will also encourage you to respond creatively to the content.

We hope you will find this volume a useful resource for your language practice and learning.

The Blue Dragon

by Tracey Seagrove

THE BLUE DRAGON

OUTLINE OF ACTIVITIES

1 Pre-reading: Talking about emotions

1.1 Creating a spider diagram showing emotions and feelings

1.2 Sharing and explaining emotions and feelings

1.3 Group discussion and collaboration on emotions and feelings

2 Visualising and predicting: Focusing on the title and the opening

2.1 Discussing and describing the blue dragon; making notes

2.2 Identifying and discussing the characteristics of a good opening

3 Empathising: Understanding the language of feelings

3.1 Identifying and expanding vocabulary to express emotions

3.2 Creating a BEFORE and AFTER list of character development

4 Creative writing: Inventing a fictional character

4.1 Becoming a character and using dialogue

4.2 Relating characters to events; writing emails

5 Extension and experimentation: Making videos

5.1 Practising and producing a video on a given topic

5.2 Preparing and producing a video based on personal experience

Sasha had not realised how dark Cambridge would be in October. The day she’d left her village home in Southern Romania, she had sat in the garden with her friends, drinking wine and talking of the future. The late afternoon sun had warmed their bodies, the light evening stretching out before them. Had it really taken only two days to move between a vibrant place where everything and everyone was familiar, to a land so grey and alien?

She focused on the paper in her hand. The address was for a hall of residence. She was on the correct street and needed to find the right building. There were several and they all looked the same. Modern, purposebuilt flats, at odds with the traditional buildings of the university. She tried to forget the feelings of loneliness and isolation and concentrate on her good fortune. A chance to study in one of the best places in the world. She remembered her mother’s words when she received her scholarship. ‘You have always been the bright one. Go. Make the world your own. Make us proud.’

It was a dream. She had been swept up in the excitement of telling her friends. Watching their excitement and jealousy, she enjoyed both. Those last few weeks at home had flown by in a flurry of parties, noise and goodbyes.

Sasha wished her friends were with her. Together they would laugh at the darkness and the cold. Alone, the discomfort filled Sasha’s thoughts. She hadn’t realised how the wind would strip away the warmth from her skin, passing through her jumper and coat as if they weren’t there. It made her feel oddly naked and vulnerable. It wasn’t as cold as the winters back home but this shouldn’t be winter. Not yet. October should be the time of a dying summer and mellow autumn.

The blocks of flats were in darkness, adding to the sinister feel of the area. Although there were more streetlights than at home, it felt shadowy, more threatening. The noise of traffic on the main road emphasised the quietness around her. She had never felt afraid of the dark before. Her mother had once caught her sneaking out at night to go swimming with some friends. Her mother’s fury had been more frightening than anything the dark could hide. Except now. Now she would gladly face her mother’s anger rather than have to walk around these unfamiliar buildings.

The women who helped her sort out her accommodation, explained that the flats were mainly for students in their first year and that most of them would not be arriving for another week. Being a foreign student meant she started a few days before the others and she had wanted to arrive early to give herself time to get to know the area. That didn’t seem such a good idea now. At least if there were other students, people her own age, she would have company, even if they were strangers. There would be noise and lights and people to talk to and ask questions of. She could practice her English, learn some new words, slang maybe. The type of language she couldn’t learn from books and that was not taught or spoken in the classrooms of her school back home. At least they were expecting another five students tomorrow. They were all from the same country. But it was a different country from Sasha’s. Everything was different.

A car turned into the street, accelerating towards her, going too fast. She turned and was blinded by the headlights as the car slowed and began to crawl along, keeping alongside her as she walked. Sasha could hear the thudding beat of music even before the window was wound down and voices jeered at her. The words were unfamiliar but the meaning was clear. There were several young men in the vehicle, their laughter mocking her. Sasha wanted to run, but she had nowhere to go. Quickening her pace, she kept her eyes focused on the pavement in front of her.